Belmont Breeding Analysis (06/03/15)

The Belmont Stakes is literally one of a kind. Beyond being the third leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, it is run five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and just three weeks following the Preakness. These young horses have to withstand the "Test of Champions," traversing Belmont Park's one and a half mile oval nick named "Big Sandy." Named for good reason, "Big Sandy" took its toll on 12 prior Triple Crown Contenders since 1978, but none more than Real Quiet in 1998 who lost by a nose at the wire after drawing off by six lengths mid stretch.

Still considered the greatest disappointment in modern day racing, this video of Real Quiet getting "nosed" strikes the chord that no horse is safe in the Belmont Stakes. Ironically enough, it was trainer Bob Baffert, who was served a lifetime of upset in one plateful of Big Sandy, that now looks to turn the tables 17 years later with American Pharoah.

Deservedly so, the pundits have compiled a litany of intricate reasons why the Triple Crown has become daunting. But for just one moment, let's step back from the inane and focus on a fixed and measureable input - distance. The Belmont Stakes is the longest Grade Stakes race for three year-olds in the country at a mile and a half, which is just once around Belmont Park.

With that, we thought it made sense to look at the Sire (father), Grand Sire (grandfather) and the Grand Dam (father of mother) and see how those connections for each Belmont runner fared in the same race prior. For this exercise we include the Dam's name (mother) but eliminate any reference to the Belmont since none of these Dams have ever produced a horse to run in the Belmont.

Here are the lineage connections that stand out from the Sire side:
  • American Pharoah's Grand Sire won the Belmont in 2003.
  • Materiality's Sire won the Belmont in 2005
  • Frosted's half brother Tonalist won last year's Belmont.
  • Keen Ice's Grand Sire, Curlin ran second in 2007 and his half brother Palice Malice won the Belmont in 2013.
On the Dam side, only one runner really stands out:
  • Frosted's Dam Sire has produced three Belmont winners and a second since 2000.
  • Frosted is the only runner with lineage on both the sire and dam side with proven distance ability at the Belmont Stakes distance of a mile and a half.

Horse Grand Sire Grand Sire - Belmont Finish Grand Sire - Belmont Runner
Top 3 Finish
American Pharoah Empire Maker 2003 - 1st Did not run
Frosted Pulpit Did not run Did not run
Mubtaahij Dubai Millennium Did not run Did not run
Materiality Northern Afleet Did not run 2005 - Alfeet Alex (1st)
Keen Ice Smart Strike Did not run 2007 - Curlin (2nd)
Frammento Unbridled Song Did not run 2009 - Dunkirk (2nd)
Madefromlucky Smart Strike Did not run 2007 - Curlin (2nd)
Tale of Verve Tale of the Cat Did not run Did not run

Horse Sire Sire - Belmont Finish Sire - Belmont Runner
Top 3 Finish
American Pharoah Pioneer of the Nile Did not run none
Frosted Tapit Did not run 2014 - Tonalist (1st)
Mubtaahij Dubawi Did not run none
Materiality Afleet Alex 2005 - 1st none
Keen Ice Curlin 2007 - 2nd 2013 - Palace Malice (1st)
Frammento Midshipman Did not run none
Madefromlucky Lookin At Lucky Did not run none
Tale of Verve Tale of Ekati Did not run none

Horse Dam Dam Sire Dam Sire - Belmont Finish Dam Sire - Belmont Runner
Top 3 Finish
American Pharoah Littleprincessemma Yankee Gentlemen did not run none
Frosted Fast Cookie Deputy Minister did not run 2007 - Rags to Riches (1st)
2007 - Curlin (2nd)
2006 - Jazil (1st)
2002- Sarava (1st)
Mubtaahij Pennegale Pennekamp did not run none
Materiality Wildwood Flower Langfuhr did not run none
Keen Ice Medomak Awesome Again did not run none
Frammento Ginger Bay Golden Missle did not run none
Madefromlucky Home From Oz Pulpit did not run none
Tale of Verve Verve Unbridled did not run 2013 - Orb (3rd)

Note: Belmont Stats since 2000


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